I honestly believe that love is something that can be cultivated … to a point. There has to be a spark of interest there at first, but how deep someone falls in love with you will often be a result of the effort you both put forth to make that feeling happen.
Though you can never force a person to like you (and should never try, even if you could), there are definitely some psychology-based dating tips that can help you learn how to get a guy to like you — and make people think of you more highly in general. These psychological “mind tricks” are even backed by research.
Of course, relationship coach and YourTango Expert Marilyn Sutherland reminds us that true love is based on total trust and safety — not tricks. “If you use mind tricks to get a man to like you unless you adopt them as new relationship habits, they are likely to backfire. Be honest about who you are for them,” says Sutherland.
“Be honest about who they are as a potential life partner. Consider how they treat you, consider your needs if you can ask for what you want, be open with them, and feel safe. Be sure you can be there 100% for them.”
If you’re hoping to make a man fall in love, try these psychology-based tips and techniques:
1. Ask him for favors.
Studies have shown that people tend to like people who they do favors for, even if they initially hated them. This is because we subconsciously make ourselves believe that the person would do the same for us as we did for them.
This reverse psychology phenomenon is known as the Ben Franklin Effect, since the Founding Father himself was the one who discovered this strange trick. As he wrote in his autobiography: “He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.”
2. Compliment him … just not all the time.
Most guys don’t get complimented frequently, so when they do hear a compliment, they tend to eat it up. The only problem is that compliments lose their significance if you hear them all the time. By spacing out compliments to a max of once per day, it keeps him on his toes.
3. Prolong your eye contact just a little bit longer.
It’s true. Studies have found that prolonged eye contact increases the likelihood that two people will fall in love.
The man behind the groundbreaking research on this subject, social psychologist Arthur Aron, noted that the two biggest factors related to falling in love through eye contact are 1) the other person being reasonably appropriate and desirable, and 2) there being reason to believe they may be genuinely interested in you, too.
4. Use his name.
The names we’re given are music to our ears. Hearing your name being said by someone is an ego boost, albeit a small one.
Studies have shown that hearing your own name has a unique effect on brain activation, as “our brains involuntarily respond to the sound of our own names, even in a state in which we are unable to respond to or act on anything else. What could be more powerful than that?!”
5. Mirror his gestures.
One of the most common ways that people show a connection to someone is to subtly copy their gestures. This is actually done on a subconscious level when it’s a seriously natural jive. Psychologists have noticed that you can actually create a closer bond by mirroring someone, even if those gestures are done totally consciously.
6. Don’t be afraid to show him your flaws.
A lot of women tend to want to hide their flaws and look “perfect” as a way to attract men. Though you definitely don’t have to show all your flaws immediately, showing him that you occasionally goof up makes you human to him… and it also shows him that you’re not a fake.
7. Expect good things from him.
Among psychologists, this is known as the Pygmalion Effect and it says that we tend to mold to the expectations that people set for us. If you think he’s a jerk, then you’ll behave in a way that will encourage him to be a jerk, even if it’s on a subconscious level.
So, expect him to be good to you and he will be better to you than if you expected him to be a twerp.
8. Let him talk about himself.
People love to talk about themselves. We are our own favorite subjects, even if we aren’t all narcissists by nature. By asking him questions about himself and getting him to open up, you’re getting him to like you more by indulging him in his favorite topic of conversation.
According to Sutherland, the best thing you can do is listen and practice intentional connection.
“I have practiced ‘intentional connection’ for 25 years. It’s a way of connecting to anyone, including a man you are interested in, in an authentic, caring way,” Sutherland explains. “You look at them, listen to what they are saying (not planning what YOU want to say), show true (not fake) interest in what they are saying; don’t pretend you like rodeos, or baseball if you don’t. Be someone you are not and when they say they like or love you, you know they don’t because they don’t know you. Be you. When they love you, you know their love is real!”
9. Have a life outside of him.
Do you know who loves being with a woman who makes her man the center of her universe? Abusers and people who are way too insecure to have a healthy relationship. By showing him that you’re an independent woman who is balanced and not desperate for spending time with him, you’re giving him the green light to pursue you without worrying about you becoming a Stage 5 Clinger.
10. Show that you have similar values, hobbies, and traits.
Studies show that we tend to fall in love (or associate) with people when we share similar values and backgrounds as them, a phenomenon known as the similarity-attraction theory. So, if he’s a rebel, it’s a good idea to show your rebellious side. If he’s a family guy, talk about how important your parents are to you.
11. Be ready to walk if he doesn’t reciprocate.
Nothing is as attractive as a woman who values herself enough to stop chasing a man. Good luck and be ready to walk if he doesn’t reciprocate your feelings. You never know; he might come around.
12. Ask him for his opinion and advice.
A guy will always appreciate you asking for his opinion on something or his advice because it gives him a sign that you respect him and want to know from him first about something. It makes him feel good about himself and great that you’re asking him for that information.
13. Be inviting and warm.
In her book, “Presence,” Professor Amy Cuddy explains that if you can be warm and competent then people will feel comfortable with you. You definitely want to act warmer and inviting towards this person that you like because you can let them know that they can trust you and talk to you about anything.
14. Touch him casually.
Slight touches on the body when you’re with the guy you like can make them psychologically feel warmer towards you. You can give small touches like touching him on his back, arm, shoulder, or leg as they are likely to exchange the touch and give you something back in return.
Photo: Jose Calsina / Shutterstock
15. Smile more.
A study by researchers from Stanford University and the University of Duisburg-Essen found that people report a more positive interaction with someone when they are smiling and when you smile when you meet someone, chances are they might remember you more later on.
Smiling can also lead to a more positive communication experience and that can be helpful when you’re wanting the guy you like to like you back. Smiling more often can signal to him that you enjoy his company and your time together and he will most likely reciprocate the feelings if he smiles back whenever you smile at him.
16. Tell him a secret.
If you engage in small talk with the guy you like and maybe tell him a secret you haven’t told anyone before (or so as far as he knows), that will make him feel important and much closer to you.
17. Show him that you can keep secrets.
The same goes with the last trick but it’s best that you let him know that you can also keep secrets as well. This will make your bond even stronger because you can form real trust if you can actually prove that you’re loyal.
Trust is everything in a relationship and keeping his secrets or showing that you have kept others helps him open up to you more easily and help persuade him to like you even more.
18. Show your sense of humor.
A guy likes a lot of banter and when a woman has a sense of humor. It makes a man feel more attracted to a woman and it can also make the person that you like, like you more according to a study from researchers at DePaul University and Illinois State University.
The study also showed that participating in humorous tasks or events can increase romantic attraction as well.
19. Simply act like you like him.
This shouldn’t be too hard because if you like him, all you have to do is show it! Give him clear indications that you like him by complimenting him and telling him certain things that you do like about him.
If he’s not picking it up then it might be best, if you think it wouldn’t scare him away, to be honest, tell him you like him, see what happens, and let him make a move.
20. Be vulnerable.
This is probably the hardest trick as being vulnerable can be scary — but it helps almost always to make a guy like you. If you are letting him know your feelings and showing him how vulnerable you can be, that’s very attractive to a man.
The findings of a study from Illinois State University and California State University at Los Angeles on partner preferences in romantic relationships and friendships reveal that expressiveness and openness are very desirable and important traits that both men and women look for in their partners.
If you are being your vulnerable self and showing them who you are, that can be very attractive to a man. He most likely wants to be with a woman who is unapologetically herself and isn’t afraid to show her true colors.
Ossiana Tepfenhart is a seasoned freelance writer based in Red Bank, New Jersey, who writes primarily about lifestyle, food, finance, and relationships.